Independent Research Report prepared for the Department of Environment ‘Evaluating the impacts on the protected seagrass P. oceanica from the construction of breakwaters at Aphrodite Hills beach’

1 month (August 2011 – September 2011)

Funded by:
Department of Environment (Republic of Cyprus)

Project Description:
Lanitis Development Ltd assigned Nicolaides & Associates & AP Marine Consultancy to conduct an EIA for the construction of breakwaters to protect the beach at Aphrodite Hills (Paphos district). The EIA was submitted in 2010 to the Department of Environment (DoE) but was rejected and an improved EIA version was resubmitted in 2011 (EIA 29/2011). Members of the environmental committee remained sceptic about among others the impacts of the proposed project on Posidonia oceanica and the director of the DoE requested from MER’s director to carry out an independent impact assessment to the protected P. oceanica by the proposed project.

The objectives of this study were to: 1) investigate the EIA that was submitted in 2011 and review background bibliography, 2) map the seagrass at the area of study with high resolution aerial images, ArcGIS software and ground-truthing diving,  3) carry out field trips to evaluate the ecological status of P. oceanica at two locations: a) the proposed study site and b) a nearby location where breakwaters were placed near a seagrass bed, and  4) assess the impacts of the proposed project to the protected seagrass P. oceanica. MER presented the research report to the environmental committee to assist their decision on the proposed project’s outcome.